The clue to the Indian interest in the ballistic missile defense is the geopolitics and proximity to Pakistan, India’s nuclear armed and missile defense delivery-capable adversary. Pakistan is currently an American ally on the war on terrorism, which lead to fears of Islamist overthrown of the government as the resentment against what is perceived as the U.S. involvement in the domestic policy rises. Chinese and Russian threats (ballistic missile arsenals and nuclear weapons) have also some significance in considerations about the missile defense. India’s Defense Research and Development Organization is responsible for the ballistic missile defense development. The program proceeded rapidly after Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998.
The main challenge in the development of a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system might prove to be in an efficient command and control system. Montainous terrain makes centralized command and control difficult. Although the system is currently being developed “at home”, the Indian government will probably develop cooperation with carefully selected partners; its Green Pine radar, was developed together with Israel and France. It is capable of detecting intermediate-range ballistic missiles from a distance of 370 miles.
Interceptor missiles, the Prithvi and the Advanced Air Defense Interceptor were tested in November 2006 (successful), December 2007 (successful), and March 2010 (failed). The ballistic missile defense system is supposed to be operational by the end of 2011; however even now is clear that the system will not meet the stated date. In the first phase the system should be capable of intercepting incoming ballistic missiles of 1200 miles.